Commentary: A White Girl in Black Student Union

Photo credit: Jenna Wilen

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Faces of BSU: Sheila and Capi. Photographer: Jenna Wilen ’13


I’m so white I’m see-through. While this article about my membership in the Black Student Union (BSU) could take a number of turns towards awkward, but politically correct topics, you are not going to read a story that will make both of us cringe and get clammy when we see it in print. You are going to hear about why being a white student in the Black Student Union is probably the best decision I have made.

I joined the Black Student Union (lovingly called the BSU) when I was in ninth grade. When I arrived to my first meeting, awkwardly lingering in the doorway, the club’s current leader Sheila Alexander ’13 welcomed me with loving arms

“Are you black?” she asked. Her question rang out in the empty room (of course I was the first person to show up to the meeting). I looked down at her and replied with the utmost sincerity: “Yes.” Sheila approvingly replied, “Well then you’re in,” and I trotted into my first day of what would be a four-year experience.

I share this story with everyone who will listen not only because it makes for excellent dinner party anecdote, but also because I think it truly embodies what Archer stands for in its pursuit of both academic and social diversity.

The BSU is one of the most welcoming clubs on campus. Our club leader, Ms. Keddie, is truly a part of our group. Then again, everyone is a part of our group. Ms. Keddie lets everyone know that her voice is both heard and important. Our discussions are passionate and thought driven. They come from the heart but also keep an open-minded perspective. From our little bubble of the college guidance room come thoughts and that span across the globe.

Sometimes we play music (ranging from modern day hip-hop to the melodic tunes of Etta James), and sometimes we read poetry (club favorites seem to be Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou). There are days when our discussions fluctuate from politics to the so- cial antics of being a teenage girl. We laugh, we share food, we tell each other how we’re going to change the world, and then we perfect our strategies.

When you walk into the BSU, there is an immediate sense of community. The BSU opens its arms to any student who is interested in joining.

At Archer, the Black Student Union is truly an all-student union where enthusiastic students come together and form bonds, share thoughts and gain compassion far beyond the realms of “racial definitions.”

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